philip lelyveld The world of entertainment technology

22Jun/21Off

Hyundai now owns robot dog maker Boston Dynamics

Hyundai has sealed its acquisition of Boston Dynamics as it pushes further into the field of robotics. The Korean carmaker now owns an 80 percent stake in the company known for its commercially available robo-dog, Spot, valuing it at $1.1 billion. Hyundai's grand plan for the company is to create a "robotics value chain" that spans robot component manufacturing, construction and automation. While the company has been exploring Star Wars-style walking vehicles that rely on robotics, it seems it's just as interested in Boston's automated warehouse workers.

See the full story here: https://www.engadget.com/hyundai-boston-dynamics-acquisition-114044490.html

21Jun/21Off

‘Virtual beauty tests used to be gimmicky but now they are useful’

When it comes to beauty products the phrase "try before you buy" used to require a visit to a physical store.

You'd dab a little highlighter from a tester pot or tube on your face, or rub some eye shadow on your eyelids, before checking them out in the mirror.

But with the pandemic shuttering High Street shops over the past year, a growing number of beauty fans have been flocking to digital testing apps and websites, to see whether a particular blusher or colour of lipstick suits them. ...

French giant, Chanel, is attempting to make the process of buying a lipstick easier through its recently launched Lipscanner app. It lets users scan a photograph of a celebrity in a magazine, and then the app selects the closest Chanel lipstick to the shade of that being worn by the star. ...

See the full story here: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-57482024

21Jun/21Off

New K-pop girl group Aespa sets 100 million-view record

[PhilNote: I met Teddy Zee on LunchClub!]

...Aespa's concept is part of SM Entertainment's grandiose project of "SM Culture Universe." Various groups each have their own storylines that ultimately weave into each other, similar to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. ...

"This is the next wave in storytelling, a true reflection of our ever-changing times that bridges culture with technology," Teddy Zee, a Hollywood producer and media and tech consultant based in Los Angeles, told ABC News. "It brilliantly mixes music with live action, anime, video games, virtual reality, augmented reality, artificial intelligence and social media into the ultimate entertainment experience designed for a new generation of fans and consumers. It is truly next level."

While the four members of Aespa exist in the real world, their avatars -- ae-Karina, ae-Winter, ae-Giselle and ae-Ningning -- exist in a virtual world called the "flat." According to Aespa's official teaser video the "ae" stands for "avatar experience," based on data uploaded by humans on the internet. ...

Aespa's members can interact with their own "ae" through text messages, phone calls and can even spend a limited amount of time together through a portal that connects both worlds: real-life and virtual. ...

SMCU fans are known to typically watch these official music videos and teasers in repeated patterns then share their own understanding of an often complex concept on social media like guessing what will happen next, who the villain is and what roles the Aespa members will play in upcoming episodes. ...

See the full story here: https://abcnews.go.com/International/pop-girl-group-aespa-sets-100-million-view/story?id=78375889

21Jun/21Off

The future of drone warfare

Where are these drones being made?
China is a top exporter. At least 10 countries — including Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates — have used Chinese-made UAVs to kill adversaries. Turkey has also emerged as a drone powerhouse. Its utilitarian Bayraktar TB2, a 21-foot-long UAV armed with four laser-guided missiles, first grabbed international attention in Syria in February 2020. After 36 Turkish troops were killed in a Syrian government airstrike, Turkey used a fleet of radio-guided TB2s — which are quiet and hard to spot on radar — to destroy Russian-made air defenses and kill hundreds, possibly thousands, of Syrian troops. TB2s also proved crucial in the Libyan civil war last year, helping the central government repel an assault on the capital, Tripoli, by the Russian-backed forces of rebel leader Khalifa Haftar. But the biggest demonstration of how drones are changing the nature of warfare was the 2020 conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh, an ethnic Armenian enclave inside Azerbaijan.

How else are drones changing warfare?
Experts worry that the proliferation of UAVs could make bloody conflicts more common, because countries that are reluctant to start a war and risk their soldiers’ lives won’t hesitate to send in drones.  ... The United Nations recently reported that a 15-pound Turkish-built quadcopter independently targeted and launched a suicide attack on retreating rebel forces in Libya. If anyone died in that March 2020 strike, said security consultant Zachary Kallenborn, it would be the “first known case of artificial intelligence–based autonomous weapons being used to kill.”

Defending against drones
The drone arms race has sparked an anti-drone arms race.

See the full story here: https://sportsgrindentertainment.com/the-future-of-drone-warfare/

21Jun/21Off

Americans — Especially Democrats, High Earners and the Highly Educated — Are Warming Up to Automation

  • 25% of U.S. adults said they think the rise of automation will increase job opportunities in the country, up from 20% in a May 2018 poll, while the share of those who think it will reduce jobs fell 11 percentage points to 48% over the same time period.
  • Democrats (34%), those who make over $100,000 per year (42%) and people with graduate degrees (43%) are 14, 17 and 12 percentage points, respectively, more likely now to think automation will increase job opportunities in this country compared to three years ago.
  • Republicans, adults earning less than $50,000 annually and those without a college degree are much more likely to say automation will decrease job opportunities in the United States.

See the full story here: https://morningconsult.com/2021/06/21/automation-workforce-jobs-polling/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email_newsletter&utm_campaign=feature_story&utm_content=Bracken_Tech_Chart_062121&mkt_tok=ODUwLVRBQS01MTEAAAF9zWlMewWOntUv1njW8uwfufNRqXwX98m6dM9xDucgK2YZTwFW8S4dGFq4Y1VAjPrT1T_7Hjrb_rCtB8lj0SDNaPb1xhY15ycjdARCldp0bS0Q

21Jun/21Off

FSU researchers receive NSF grant to study teaching practices in virtual reality

Florida State University researchers have received a nearly $600,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to investigate teaching practices for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) using mixed reality simulations and virtual students. ...

“There are two major issues that affect the preparation of STEM teachers: accessible and scalable practicum experiences and the lack of interdisciplinary STEM experiences in teacher preparation programs,”  Ke said.  ...

To address these problems, the research team — which includes fellow FSU faculty members Sherry Southerland, professor of science education, and Xin Yuan, professor of computer science — will develop and study an open-source, multiplayer simulation-based learning platform for preservice STEM teachers. 

This enactive, virtual environment for teaching practice, known as EVETeach, uses reflective practice and topic-specific professional knowledge, mixed-reality simulations and virtual agent design, as well as real-time performance data mining.

The three-year project will encompass experiments to study and refine the intervention program as well as study its impact on the development of professional knowledge of preservice teachers and their conceptualization of interdisciplinary STEM education. It will also generate a framework for a learning system that provides more comprehensive support for the development of future STEM teachers.   

See the full story here: https://news.fsu.edu/news/2021/06/21/fsu-researchers-receive-nsf-grant-to-study-teaching-practices-in-virtual-reality/

20Jun/21Off

10 FAMOUS PEOPLE IN ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

Conclusion

While many businesses have utilised AI to automate operations, those who use it primarily to replace workers will only experience short-term productivity improvements. In our 1,500-company study, we discovered that when people and robots collaborate, organisations make the most substantial performance gains. Humans and AI actively improve each other’s complimentary qualities through cooperative intellectual ability.

See the full story here: https://www.analyticsinsight.net/10-famous-people-in-artificial-intelligence/https://www.analyticsinsight.net/10-famous-people-in-artificial-intelligence/

19Jun/21Off

Using Augmented Reality, London Takes Its Art to the Streets

Major art museums in London are using augmented reality as a way to share works with the public and to entice visitors back inside, even with coronavirus restrictions in flux.

The National Gallery has teamed up with the National Portrait Gallery, the Royal Academy of Arts and other organizations to create the Augmented Gallery, an app-accessible interactive walking trail of 20 historic and contemporary pieces visible by smartphone.

The outdoor gallery route stretches across the center of the city, from west of Piccadilly Circus to east of Leicester Square, starting at the National Gallery and ending outside the Royal Academy.

...

Now artists from Britain, Germany, Ghana, Mexico and the United States are competing to get their work on the plinth in 2022 or 2024 with themes including defiance, racism, sexuality and ecology. The winners will be decided by the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group, made up of artists, curators and journalists, taking the public vote into account.

Models of their proposed works are on free display at the National Gallery until July 4. You can vote for your favorite online, but be speedy — voting closes on Sunday.

See the full story here: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/18/arts/london-art-walk-outdoor-sculpture.html

19Jun/21Off

McDonald’s customer is suing the company for alleged breach of privacy laws. Yes, at the robot drive-thru.

There has been, though, a further little twist. McDonald's is now being sued for allegedly recording voiceprint details of its customers at the robot drive-thru. The lawsuit claims that McDonald's makes the recordings "to be able to correctly interpret customer orders and identify repeat customers to provide a tailored experience."

Illinois, however, is one of 12 that requires both parties to consent to a recording of a voice conversation and the lawsuit claims there's no warning to customers that recordings are occurring.

McDonald's hasn't commented, but it's an awkward aftertaste to the company's vision of the future.

See the full story here: https://www.zdnet.com/article/i-just-watched-mcdonalds-new-ai-drive-thru-and-ive-lost-my-appetite/

18Jun/21Off

The Tribeca Immersive Awesome List 2021

This year Tribeca Immersive, as its XR (VR, AR, and allied technologies) section is called, was distinguished by its hybrid format. The five titles in its Storyscapes competition can be seen in the physical world at the 50 Varick Street location in New York’s Tribeca neighborhood. There are also twelve titles in its “virtual arcade,” hosted by the Museum of Other Realities (MOR) inside VR. These are ticketed, but there are another dozen free mobile AR experiences that can be seen anywhere with a smartphone. The new format, forced by the pandemic, has had a democratizing effect on the festival, making the works far more accessible to far more people than ever before.

This year was distinguished by the overarching themes of racism, social justice, mental health, the environment, and much less about entertainment than previous years. It has been said many times that VR is an “empathy machine” that will allow viewers to literally walk in another’s shoes. Indeed, all the titles in Storyscapes fall into these categories, and each has something important to say about its subject. 

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In Tribeca’s Virtual Arcade inside the PC only MOR, we found the first of our most awesome experiences, “The Changing Same,” from Scatter and Rada Studio. Scatter has been in the festival previously with the first most awesome experience “Blackout” (2017). Directors Yasmin Elayat (“Zero Days VR”), Michèle Stephenson, and Joe Brewster, used Depthkit Studio, a portable multi-camera volumetric capture solution, to create a new version of reality: a dreamlike version of the physical world, where time and location melt into an infinite pop culture whirlwind, to tells the terrifying story of how the law is used to convict a man already the victim of racism before he is even accused. What the hapless Kafka-esque hero is accused of, no one knows, and no one cares. When you’re black, and a cop decides you have a bad attitude, it is the end of your life or, if you’re lucky, life as you know it. The system takes over. And there’s not a damn thing you can say or do. Submit, and be smothered. Or don’t submit, and be smothered. You can cry out at the rude irony, you can laugh at it, you can ridicule it, fight, or not fight. It doesn’t matter. Because you don’t matter. The end is brutally preordained. I am still thinking about this piece. I walked in this guy’s shoes. And I didn’t like it one bit. And that is the most awesome thing I experienced at Tribeca this year. This is the first in a three part series that will eventually be available in the Oculus store. 

...

 Nonny de la Pena’s Emblematic Group, the pioneer of empathetic VR, presents A Life in Pieces: The Diary of Stanley Hayami, which brings to life the wartime diary of Stanley Hayami, a Japanese-American teenager imprisoned with his family during WWII. It was produced with Japanese American National Museum, which will be exhibiting the piece.

...

Not exactly AR, nor VR, though interactive, is “Republique,” an interactive  mobile phone movie from France, directed by Simon Bouisson. We see a terrorist attack on the Paris Metro, seemingly live streamed by three victims, who are getting reactions and comments from anonymous people watching them remotely. It is a surprising and jarring way to tell a story that reflects how we are creators, commenters and consumers of social media narratives. And despite all the information we have at our disposal, we still can’t see the big picture as it unfolds in real time. 

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Finally, there is for me one piece that truly characterizes Tribeca Immersive this year: the elegiac simplicity of “Breonna's Garden”, by the artists Lady PheOnix (sic) and Sutu. By now, everyone knows the tragic story of Breonna Taylor, a young black EMT mistakenly murdered by the Louisville Police in a drug bust gone bad. Although the city paid the family $12 M to compensate for their deadly blunder, no one has been held responsible. Breonna, erased as a person, has become a symbol of our society’s failed, racist approach to policing. This tribute, created in collaboration with her sister, allows us to connect with the person who was  loved and lost. “Breonna’s Garden” allows the viewer to plant an interactive flower in a virtual garden to her memory while reminding us she never wanted to be a symbol. Breonna was a person with a family, friends, achievements and dreams. Anyone with a smartphone can download it and contribute to her memory. 

“The creators are responding to very real issues that have been bubbling up for a long time in our world. They’re creatively using the medium to address topics like mental health and racial equity in surprising and entertaining ways,” Hammonds told me. “What’s been most inspiring about curating this edition are the ways in which we’re expanding the definition of Immersive entertainment, with outdoor AR installations, immersive audio storytelling and so much more.”

See the full story here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/charliefink/2021/06/17/the-tribeca-immersive-awesome-list-2021/?sh=2b24348349c8